Tuesday was a big day for Moscow: the 72nd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. For Russians, it was an occasion to celebrate peace and to pay respects to both veterans and fallen soldiers. While for the world, it was a chance to glance at Russia’s military muscle. Indeed, Russia is back in the top ranks of military spenders.
A new report shows the country boosted its military spending to 69.2 billion US dollars in 2016, making up 5.3 percent of its economy, the largest share of production since it became an independent state in 1991. The 5.9 percent increase landed Russia behind only the United States and China in the ranking of top spenders. The new missile defense systems of Russia’s Baltic Fleet and Arctic troops with polar bears painted on them, which were shown on the parade, were a magnificent fruit of the military investment.
How much can the US and NATO read into the strength of Russia’s military from this parade? We turn to our panel to find out: Pavel Felgenhauer, Russian defense analyst; Mark Sleboda, international relations & security analyst; Jim Walsh, senior research associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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